Halloween Horror: Experts Warn of the Impact of Horror Movies on Kids

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Halloween is just around the corner, and it’s that time of year when spooky movies become a hot topic. However, it’s essential to remember that horror movies might not be suitable for all ages, especially for kids.

The Impact of Horror Movies on Kids

Recently, a fourth-grade class in Florida had an unexpected and alarming experience when their math teacher accidentally screened a slasher film titled “Winnie the Pooh: Honey and Blood.” This incident has raised concerns among experts, who are highlighting the potential harm that horror movies can cause to young children.

Catherine Del Toro, a mental health counselor, emphasized that what might be a thrilling experience for adults can be truly distressing for kids. The impact can range from severe anxiety and panic to increased stress, and in some cases, it can even lead to depression. Del Toro pointed out that children’s brains are still developing, and they process things differently from adults.

Psychotherapist Stephanie Sarkis explained that every child is unique, and their reaction to scary films can vary. Some kids may watch scary content without any issues, while others might struggle with sleepless nights for a week or more.

To make an informed decision, psychotherapist Chelsey Cole recommends weighing the pros and cons of letting your child watch a scary movie. Consider whether it could lead to valuable conversations about challenging subjects or dangerous situations, but only if your child is developmentally ready for such discussions.

In some cases, children may accidentally come across macabre movies, like during a sleepover or, surprisingly, in a math class, as was the case with “Winnie the Pooh: Honey and Blood.”

If your child encounters a frightening film, experts advise initiating honest and empathetic conversations with them about their fears. Eileen Kennedy-Moore, a clinical psychologist, suggests starting with empathy and assuring your child that their feelings are valid. It’s important not to make fun of them or downplay their fears.

Kennedy-Moore also recommends debunking the scary elements by showing that the monsters or situations in the movie aren’t real. You can use YouTube clips or simply talk them through it, emphasizing that it’s all fictional and no one was hurt.

As Halloween approaches, it becomes increasingly crucial to monitor your child’s exposure to media. Sarkis reminds us that we can’t guarantee constant protection, but we can assure our children that we’re looking out for their best interests and trying to shield them from potentially distressing content.

So, this Halloween season, while enjoying the thrills of the holiday, remember to consider your child’s age, their tolerance for scares, and the potential impact of horror movies on their young minds.


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